Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned on Tuesday that the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker on July 4 in Gibraltar will not be left unanswered, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“England carries out maritime piracy and steals our ship … they commit crimes and then legitimize them … the Islamic Republic will not leave these actions unanswered,” Khamenei warned.
This is the first time Khamenei has commented on the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker earlier this month.
Authorities in Gibraltar, assisted by Britain’s Royal Marines, intercepted an Iranian oil tanker on July 4 believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Iranian crude oil to Syria.
Since then, various Iranian government officials and military commanders have demanded the release of the tanker and issued threats towards Britain.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that Iran’s actions were “profoundly destabilizing” but added that he wanted to reduce tensions in the Middle East.
In another part of his speech, Khamenei criticized European countries, claiming that Iran had complied with the nuclear deal and only began scaling back on its commitments in response to Europe’s actions.
Addressing them directly, he stressed: “Know that we have just begun reducing our commitments, and this process will certainly continue.”
Al Arabiya English